High School Counselor Week

Weekly stories, facts, trends, and other information from around the country


November 16, 2023

Big Picture

2023 school shootings outpace record high from 2022
K-12 Dive – November 10, 2023
School shootings — on the overall rise for decades — have broken last year’s record high at 306 shootings with just under two months left to go in the year.

Gun violence solutions ‘well within our reach’
K-12 Dive – November 14, 2023
Congressional leaders hosted a roundtable Monday seeking answers to the national epidemic of shootings. Here are four key takeaways.

How Washington, D.C. Is Reimagining High School to Help All Students Succeed
The 74 – November 13, 2023
The kind of flexibility offered to students in D.C. as they chart their own paths is a thoughtful approach based on hard-won insights. Around the country, in places like Phoenix and Madison, Wisconsin, policymakers are sounding alarms and stepping away from how high school has been delivered in the past. Instead, they are implementing new ways to prepare their students for life, in response to data on high school attendance and graduation rates, college enrollment and completion, and postsecondary career outcomes.

Columns and Blogs

The Student I Never Knew
Post – November 15, 2023
Counselors’ Corner with Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D.

Navigating the Thanksgiving tightrope
Post – November 15, 2023
College Advice & Timely Tips with Lee Bierer


Desperate to Support Youth, States Spend to Stop Leaks in Mental Health Care Pipeline
EdSurge – November 14, 2023
Celina Pierrottet, associate director of student wellness at the National Association of State Boards of Education, noted in a policy brief a major hurdle in getting students the help they need: an inadequate supply of mental health professionals, specifically those credentialed to work in schools. The immediate mental health needs have created crushing workloads for counselors. National trade organizations recommend student-to-professional ratios of 1:250 for school social workers, 1:250 for school counselors and 1:500 for school psychologists. There’s a long way to go to ease workloads for all three types of positions. Here’s what she found is standing in the way — and how states are finding solutions.


4 Ways to Help Teens Strengthen Social and Emotional Literacy
Edutopia – November 10, 2023
When middle and high school students are given the chance to build social and emotional skills during the school day, they get better at self-regulation and grow more socially aware—both in and out of the classroom. (Full transcript included)




Smartphones, Kids and Inconvenient Truths: What Parents Need to Know
Raised Good – November 9, 2023
School and social dynamics now follow kids 24/7. There is no escape. There is no rest. There is no safe haven. With the internet in their pockets, our kids are constantly ‘connected’. With the internet in their pockets, childhood is under threat. In his book, Raising Emotionally Resilient Teens and Tweens, Kim John Payne says that “About half of all peer abuse or hyper-controlling issues now involve some form of cyberbullying, and the numbers are on the rise.” In his research, Payne found that kids who are cyberbullied feel scared and hurt, and develop a negative self-image. Here are more sobering cyberbullying statistics about our kids…

Admissions Process & Strategy

How to Navigate College Admissions With a Learning Disability
U.S. News & World Report – November 14, 2023
While the procedural part is stressful, experts say students with learning disabilities who are applying to college often struggle most with deeper questions that are unique to their situation.

Choosing a college is hard. The Israel-Hamas war is making it harder
USA Today – November 12, 2023
On top of the typical anxieties the college admissions process invariably brings, many Jewish and Muslim families are now drawing up a new set of criteria for which schools they hope their kids will attend next year. Exactly how college leaders navigate the ongoing strife could have a notable impact on which campuses parents and students ultimately choose. Families will undoubtedly keep watch on the campuses where hate rears its head.

Ask A College Counselor: Do Colleges Look At Senior Year Grades?
Forbes – November 8, 2023
By the fall, many seniors have applied to colleges. Does it matter if they maintain their grade point average in their senior classes? Do colleges look at senior year grades? What about seniors being accepted on early admission?

Financial Aid/Scholarships

When Is the FAFSA Available This Year? Nobody Knows
Money – November 9, 2023
Millions of students, parents and financial aid workers want to know: WTF — where’s the FAFSA? For students, a delayed FAFSA potentially affects not just where you can afford to go to college, but whether you can afford to go to college. Last month, a dozen major higher education associations – including the American Council on Education — wrote a letter to the Education Department pressing for more details. Signatories told Money that the Department of Education has not responded to, or even acknowledged, the letter. And there are rumors the department might not be able to meet the January 1 legal deadline.

Career & Technical Education

Military Service Should Count as a Successful Pathway for Students. But First We Need Better Data About Graduates
The 74 – November 10, 2023
Students who graduate from high school should be ready to succeed wherever life takes them, whether that be college, a career or the military. That might seem like an innocuous statement, but states are struggling to define those pathways in equally rigorous ways. Moreover, a lack of reliable data on who actually serves in the military means that it’s being left out as a successful post-high school outcome.

Education system must adapt to the changing needs of teens
The Ticker (Baruch College) – November 13, 2023
Despite the lower number of applicants, students have not completely abandoned plans after high school — they just aren’t reliant solely on college. Counselors are seeing a growing trend of students opting out of college and pursuing alternate career options. Teenagers are rightfully moving away from the usual singular focus on college and adopting being inclusive of other pathways like trade schools or apprenticeships. Educators across institutions must implement new methods of promoting education to support students in their post-graduate plans and increase the number of college enrollees.

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Teen Health

Just say no’ didn’t actually protect students from drugs. Here’s what could
NPR – November 9, 2023
Elias Myers thinks his friends are lucky to be alive, after a recent incident in which his friends got ahold of a drug that test strips showed was laced with fentanyl, a potent, often deadly, synthetic opioid. ‘That’s kind of when I decided that caution is not, like, a best practice, but a survival technique,’ he said. And yet those survival techniques were never talked about in Myers’ middle and high school drug education classes. In fact Myers says they didn’t mention fentanyl at all. He says those classes failed to prepare him and his peers for an increasingly dangerous drug landscape in which a single high can have deadly consequences.

Mindfulness meditation can help cure the teen mental health crisis, research shows
Northeastern University – November 13, 2023
In a paper published in Nature Mental Health, Northeastern psychology professor Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli advises policy makers to consider turning to the low-cost, readily available practice of mindfulness meditation to change brain activity associated with mental illness. Behavioral interventions such as mindfulness meditation and exercise actually target the same network as quite invasive therapies such as deep brain stimulation, electroshock therapy and treatment with SSRIs

LGBTQ+ issues increasingly targeted in K-12 censorship bills
Higher Ed Dive – November 10, 2023
For the first time in three years, legislators are shifting away from proposing bills that restrict classroom discussions on race and racism, according to a Tuesday report by PEN America tracking ‘educational gag orders.’ Instead, state bills are increasingly moving toward censoring schools from covering sexual orientation and gender identity, the report found.